March 31 (Reuters) – Five fetuses were discovered in a Washington, D.C., home, police said on Thursday, which local media said was the residence of an anti-abortion activist criminally charged with storming a reproductive health clinic.
Police investigating a tip about “potential bio-hazard material” found the five fetuses in the home on the 400 block of 6th Street, South East, on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police Department said.
The disturbing discovery was made on Wednesday as criminal indictments were unsealed by the U.S. Justice Department against Lauren Handy and eight other anti-abortion activists. They were accused of conspiring in 2020 to overrun the clinic and set up a blockade to intimidate patients and staff.
The Justice Department described Handy, 28, as living in Alexandria, Virginia. The home where the fetuses were found was described by local media as her residence.
Asked whether the home where the fetuses were found was in fact Handy’s residence, Metropolitan Police said “We cannot confirm this information.”
Handy’s attorney, Federal Public Defender Mary Petras, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The fetuses were collected by the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, police said. The case is under investigation.
Charged with Handy in the Oct. 22, 2020 clinic incident were Jonathan Darnel, 40, of Arlington, Virginia; Jay Smith, 32, of Freeport, New York; Paulette Harlow, 73, and Jean Marshall, 72, of Kingston, Massachusetts; John Hinshaw, 67, of Levittown, New York; Heather Idoni, 61, of Linden, Michigan; William Goodman, 52, of Bronx, New York; and Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey.
They are charged with conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate patients and employees, in violation of their federal rights to seek and provide reproductive health services.
They are also charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) for using force to interfere with the clinic’s services.
If convicted, they each could face up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)